At a time of year when most birds stay fairly close to their breeding sites, making for rather repetitive birding, there were still a few surprises at Presqu'ile Provincial Park in the past week.
A Brant on Gull Island on June 14 was either a late migrant or a non-breeding bird that may not move on to the Arctic, where the species breeds. On the same day there were eight Wood Ducks in the marsh, most of which were there for two days after that and may still be there. Up to six Gadwalls, four Redheads, and two scaup that could not be identified as to species have been regulars in Popham Bay near Gull and Sebastopol Islands. A surprising eight Common Goldeneyes were there on June 14 and a Red-breasted Merganser on the next two days. Common Loons are still frequenting the inner area of Presqu'ile Bay, perhaps nesting in the marsh. Four newly hatched Pied-billed Grebes were in the marsh on June 14. One observer watched a group of ten Great Egrets flying out to High Bluff Island on the evening of June 16, a number that would be surprising were it not for the record high number of nests (27) on that island this year. If disturbance is kept to a minimum, we can hope that a high proportion of those nests will be successful. A late Black-bellied Plover and two Sanderlings were on the beach on June 14. A few Semipalmated Sandpipers were there on the following two days. For the second week in a row, an immature Bonaparte's Gull was on Gull Island.
A Black-billed Cuckoo was heard on June 16. For the first time in the past five years, no one has yet found a Yellow-billed Cuckoo in the Park, but they are worth watching for since they usually appear in both May and June. As recently as June 14, a group of 13 Blue Jays was observed flying in from across Lake Ontario and stopping to rest in a tree near the lighthouse. A male Cerulean Warbler was discovered singing vociferously behind the lighthouse visitor centre on June 18, in the same location where a female was observed on May 25. It is possible that a pair has been there all along undetected. Discovering a rare warbler this late in June is not unprecedented, as a Prairie Warbler appeared in the Park on June 20, 2005. Orchard Orioles continue to make their presence known along Bayshore Road between the bridge and the end of the road.
To reach Presqu'ile Provincial Park, follow the signs from Brighton. Locations within the Park are shown on a map at the back of a tabloid that is available at the Park gate. Access to the offshore islands is restricted at this time of year to prevent disturbance to the colonial nesting birds there.
Questions and comments about bird sightings at Presqu'ile may be directed to: FHELLEINER@TRENTU.CA.